UTV confirms departure of motion pictures head

MUMBAI: Media company UTV has confirmed 

the report carried by (UTV) that Sanjay Bhattacharjee, the chief operating officer of its motion picture division, is indeed parting with the firm. An official release issued by UTV says "the departure was mutual and on cordial terms."

The earlier report had quoted Bhattacharjee as saying "that UTV Motion Pictures - an independent company - will account for 30 to 50 per cent of the organisation’s revenues in the forthcoming year."

UTV however disputes that and has issued a clarification saying that UTV's motion pictures division forms "less than three per cent" of the company's revenue.

"However, UTV plans to take that up to 15-20 per cent of the total company revenue mix in the next two to three years," states the release.

It adds that while UTV has primarily concentrated on TV, animation, post production and its allied content, it now plans to shift focus to the motion picture business and multiple revenues ranging from production of domestic movies to international co-productions, distribution and formation of a film fund. 

(updated at 4:45 pm, 2 May 2003)

Bhattacharjee has stood by his original statement stating that UTV Motion Pictures has two major films in 2003-04 - Shah Rukh Khan's Chalte Chalte and JP Dutta's multi-starrer LOC (Line of Control). 

In 2004-05, he says that there is Ashutosh Gowariker's Swadesh (with Shah Rukh Khan and music director AR Rahman) and Dil Chahta Hai fame Farhan Akhtar's Lakshya (with Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta). 

Revenues from these four mega-budget films would definitely add to the topline and bottomline of UTV Motion Pictures, says Bhattacharjee. He refers to an article in prominent business daily dated 21 March 2003 in order to substantiate his claims. 

Bhattacharjee, however, makes the point that revenues from these movies should not be confused with net realisations to the company.

See related story:

UTV Motion Pictures COO Bhattacharjee resigns

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